WWII sailor awarded medals - 64 years after they were lost in the post

6:00am Monday 31st March 2014

By Christine Sexton

A WORLD War II sailor was finally awarded his medals - 64 years after they were lost in the post.

Former Chief Petty Officer George Williams, 91, from Rayleigh, was presented with six war-time medals for bravery in a surprise ceremony arranged by his son Stephen.

His son, Stephen Williams, a solicitor from East Bergholt, heard many WWII naval stories from his father over the years including his service in a minesweeper at the D Day landings.

After some digging, Stephen Williams found his father’s bravery should have resulted in some distinguished medals. His research confirmed that six medals were issued on 12 July 1950 and sent to an address in East Ham, London, but they never arrived.

The blunder has now been resolved and Mr Williams’ medals: the 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Pacific Star, the France and Germany Clasp, the War Medal 1939/45 and the Defence Medal, were presented to him by Captain Warren Bairstow CSC RAN (Naval Adviser to the Australian High Commission) at the Royal Hospital School.

In recognition of Mr Williams’ service in the Royal Navy, he and his son, Stephen, were invited to the School’s Founders Day Divisions when Captain Bairstow took the salute, followed by a chapel service.

George Williams, speaking after the presentation, said: “It felt beautiful. I’ve been waiting for these medals for more than 60 years but I’m finally satisfied.”

Stephen Williams said the service was emotional for both of them.

He said: “His medals were sent out in 1950 but never arrived. He didn’t make a big thing what he did in the war so never mentioned it but I thought we should do something about it.

“It brought a tear to my eye and, when they saluted, my father automatically saluted back. He said it brought back so many memories “He is a tiny man, just 5ft 2in but what he did along with many others makes him a giant amongst men.”

The Royal Hospital School was founded in 1713 to educate boys for service in the Royal Navy and until just 20 years ago most pupils attending the school had some seafaring connection.

The presentation was preceded by a parade of 700 pupils.

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